Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) is something that Kim Ramsey knows all too well. Ms. Ramsey suffers from the disorder that gives her continuous orgasms that are oftentimes unwarranted and painful. She first had problems with continuous orgasms after having sex with a new boyfriend in 2008. “I had constant orgasms for four days. I thought I was going mad. It also happened with a new partner and I even tried sitting on frozen peas.” Doctors believe the incurable syndrome was caused by an accident in 2001 when she fell down some stairs.
Ramsey shares that as soon as her story became public, she was misunderstood and sometimes even ridiculed or made fun of, when the condition itself is very serious. The symptoms for every woman with PGAD vary, but the predominant factor is pain. “Yes, it’s painful,” Ramsey admits. “Many people get caught up on the sexual aspect as it is sensational and catches peoples’ interest. Nobody wants to read about pain. But everyone wants to hear about orgasms. So generally the public and medical professionals are misinformed about the condition because they are not getting the information and then they fill in the blanks with their own personal experiences.”
The sexual response cycle refers to the sequence of physical and emotional changes that occur as a person becomes sexually aroused and participates in sexually stimulating activities, including intercourse and masturbation. Knowing how your body responds during each phase of the cycle can enhance your relationship and help you pinpoint the cause of any sexual problems.
The sexual response cycle has four phases: Excitement, Plateau, Orgasm and Resolution. Both men and women experience these phases, although the timing usually is different.
Phase 1: Excitement
General characteristics of the excitement phase, which can last from a few minutes to several hours, include the following:
Muscle tension increases. Heart rate quickens and breathing is accelerated. Skin may become flushed (blotches of redness appear on the chest and back). Nipples become hardened or erect. Blood flow to the genitals increases, resulting in swelling of the woman’s clitoris and labia minora (inner lips), and erection of the man’s penis. Vaginal lubrication begins. The woman’s breasts become fuller and the vaginal walls begin to swell. The man’s testicles swell, his scrotum tightens, and he begins secreting a lubricating liquid.
Phase 2: Plateau
General characteristics of the plateau phase, which extends to the brink of orgasm, include the following: